Travel pricing

Andy Burnham pointed to this bizarre working of the travel ‘market’:

Meanwhile for the next month there is the equally bizarre ‘Great British Rail Sale’, giving half-price off peak tickets.

In so doing government recognises that price is an important factor in promoting rail travel, yet has spent the last dozen years relentlessly pushing up rail fares. Even while the cost of motoring has sometimes fallen over the last decade, the cost of train travel has only ever increased.

A one month sale is a peculiarly ineffective way of convincing us all that the train regularly offers good value.

For environmental reasons if no other our travel does indeed need to be priced on to the train.

And not just for a month.


  1. Schofield -

    Unfortunately the land is infested with bonehead thinkers (who whilst wanting to complain about price increases) for no reason they can logically articulate continue to believe the Thatcherite drivel government has no money of its own and therefore must always automatically strive to balance its books. Present them with explanations why this Thatcherite belief doesn’t stand up and many complain it’s too tedious to grasp! I expect the downward drift of the economy will reach such a point of economic pain for these boneheads they’ll opt for fascism as the Germans did in the 1930’s. It’s the childish thing to do let someone else do the economic thinking for them!

    1. Schofield -

      As if to make my point here is a semi-bonehead article published today in the Guardian in which the author after telling us about the global economic recession on the way and the need to protect the vulnerable says the following:-

      “Although the scope for fiscal action is less limited than it is for monetary measures, it is not well distributed among countries. While governments should use the firepower they have to protect the most vulnerable segments of their populations, some already face “troubling debt levels.”

      Zero explanation of what he means in using the term “troubling debt levels”!

  2. Andrew -

    Without disagreeing with the thrust – should it be possible that a train travelling the 200 miles from Manchester to London can cost around the same price as a 6000 mile flight to India? – it is not entirely comparing the same thing.

    I can find a flight from Manchester to Kochi, leaving on
    Sunday 22nd May 2022 and returning on Monday 6th June 2022. The outward journey leaves at 18:40 and arrives at 8am two days later (Tuesday 24th), taking four legs via Milan and Katowice and Abu Dhabi with Ryanair and Malta Air and Whizz and IndiaGo. The return journey leaves at 20:30 and arrives at 9:35 two days later (8th) with three legs via Adu Dhabi and Vienna with Air Arabia, Whizz and Malta Air. Total cost. £336. But remember I am booking a month in advance, and taking two tortuous journeys of around 36 hours each way, including several long layovers. If I want to go tomorrow, it might be around £600 or £700.

    A typical return train ticket from Manchester to London today or tomorrow or on Monday might be £98, but I can find two singes (there and back at specific times) on Monday for £23 + £28.80.

    So, if you cherry pick the cheapest possible journeys for both routes, is it really so outrageous that it might cost £50 to get from Manchester to London, and about seven times more to fly to India? If you don’t cherry pick, the typical multiple is again about seven times.

    1. Schofield -

      Is it really so outrageous that these UK costs then need to be reflected in the cost of UK exports which puts downward pressure on the pound? Yes!!!

      Then ask yourself the question who can create the pounds and with lax regulatory control. Discover the answer is government and licenced banks from nothing with the lax regulating agent being successive governments for over five decades now since the start of easing restrictions on the licenced banks and shadow banks beginning with chancellor Anthony Barber.

      1. Andrew -

        Sorry, perhaps I am too boneheaded, but I don’t see how this relates to what I wrote. (I know who creates the pounds, and who sets the regulations, and at present they only seem to care for themselves.)

        So let me try another tack. Should train tickets be cheaper, or air fares more expensive, or both? And how is that to be achieved? Minimum fares for airlines? Maximum fares for trains?

  3. ChrisK -

    Another example of “Ride Out to Help Out”. When will these bone headed morons ever think about the poor in this septic isle?

  4. Peter May -

    @Andrew. Strictly speaking you’re right but while travelling thousands of miles certainly requires planning a national journey of 200 should, I would submit, not, By car you climb in and go – no planning required, And that is cheaper than the train, tho’ perhaps not for a single person willing to adjust their timetable to fit in with the train operators quiet periods – but who hasn’t been caught out by that.
    In order to be a regular choice the train needs to be permanently cheap I suggest. Already if there are two or more of you travelling the car inavariably wins…

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